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"HOW TO READ MY POEMS" by Alexander Mint

It takes me four or five poems

To learn to read a poet.

I haven’t written many yet

So you and I don’t have that luxury.

I mean what I say but

Trouble saying what I mean.

If I draw a comparison

Please go with me there:

It is usually to a nice vacation spot

Like a beach or on a wing.

Granted many poets use

Ocean and avian metaphors.

I do too. I hope you’ll continue

To find them alternatively

Freeing or tragic.

If you come to a line

That doesn’t interest you

Skip it. If it’s better that way

Cross it out and mail it to me:

My editor is pretty ‘hands-off.’

If a poem spills

Onto a second page

It’s either because I couldn’t

Shorten it any further

Or because it became a friend

I wanted to properly introduce.

How else could I ensure

You spend enough time with it?

The word Love I use as I do

In year two of a relationship

When we can no longer deny

Each others’ flaws and when

For the first time the honied

Vision of our future ends

In my death.

If I make an obscure reference

Or literary allusion the poem

Can be as well understood

In ignorance and with a nod

To tradition might be tolerated

Forgiven or even enjoyed

Like a Christmas Tree.

So now if you please

Choose one: salt or pepper

Buying or making

Drum or drum-machine?

If you answered any of

These questions correctly

Please turn to the next page…

Alexander Mint can be found in and around the cafes of New York City practicing poetry and entertaining politics.

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